Ocean Drive is the quintessential Miami boulevard – think cute cafes, beachgoers, art deco digs, and booming all-night gigs. The avenue runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, with a row of busy venues on one side and the beachfront Lummus Park on the other.

The strip is the epicenter of the party-hearty Floridian city we’ve come to know and love – all the blockbuster Miami-based movies gravitate around Ocean Drive. As Miami’s top tourism and entertainment hub, it’s awash with hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs.

A 2020 municipal decree turned the entire thoroughfare into a pedestrian-only zone. Thus, the thriving strip will become even livelier in the years to come. Read on as our mini-guide covers the top spots to eat, drink, and play on Miami’s most celebrated strip.

Ocean Drive in Miami - one of the highlights of 10 Best Things to Do in Miami and 11 Best Things to Do in Miami Beach (Read all about Miami here)

What are the highlights of Miami’s Ocean Drive?

Eating, boozing, and people-watching aside, Ocean Drive is famous for its eclectic ensemble of art deco architecture. Development boomed here during the height of the movement (the 1920s and 1930s), and many of the original buildings remain proudly on display. Over 900 buildings have been added to the Register of Historic Places to ensure ongoing conservation.

If you’d rather carve your own path, make a beeline for the Colony Hotel – this gorgeous 1939 building is one of the most photographed spots on the strip. Pop by the Art Deco District Welcome Center to pick up a self-guided audio tour of the top architectural sites. Most hotels have glamorous vintage rooms if you're looking for authentic art deco accommodations in Miami.

The Clevelander Hotel is also worth a look – pop inside to sink sundowners on its famed rooftop lounge. Movie buffs will recognize the Carlyle Hotel from The Birdcage (1996) and the Sunray Apartments from Scarface (1983). If fashion is more your thing, don’t miss Casa Casuarina, the former residence of Gianni Versace that's now a Miami boutique hotel.

Where to eat and drink on Ocean Drive?

With so many spots to wine and dine on Ocean Drive, the hardest part about a night out here is deciding where to go. Most of the action rotates around the mid-point, roughly between 5th and 12th, although establishments line the entire strip.

Mango’s Tropical Café is a vibrant Latino restaurant-slash-club with heaving salsa classes and tasty (but pricey) tropical beverages. The swanky Nikki Beach Club lures ultra-lux revelers (and celebs) for its chic décor and breezy oceanfront views.

The Clevelander hosts an epic pool party where big-name DJs entertain a raucous crowd until late. The LGBTQ+ crowd might prefer the Palace Restaurant and Bar, which is a hit for its drag show brunch.

From hole-in-the-wall fast food joints to world-class dining digs, there’s an eatery for every taste and budget on Ocean Drive. Choice upscale options include A Fish Called Avalon for fresh seafood or Gianni’s for mouthwatering Mediterranean fare in a fancy, alfresco setting. Prime 112 is worth the splurge for its delectable dry-age steaks. 

Good to know about Ocean Drive in Miami

Ocean Drive stretches from 1st Street at the southern end through 15th Street at the northern tip of Lummus Park. The city’s most famous stretch of sand, South Beach, sits directly opposite Lummus Park, making Ocean Drive a magnet for beach bums. Cycling, jogging, volleyball, and picnicking are all popular pastimes in the lush, palm tree-studded park.

Parking can be tricky around Ocean Road, especially since the zone became pedestrianized – you can check out the City Hall Website for a list of public garages available in the area.

If you don’t have a automobile, the free Miami Beach Trolley runs every 30 minutes between 8 am and 11 pm, with several stops within a few blocks of Ocean Drive. The Metro Bus can get you there from virtually anywhere in the city.

Ocean Drive in Miami

Harry Stewart | Contributing Writer